Attorneys General Push for Repeal of EPA Rules

Published July 21, 2017

Among the more than 60,000 comments posted on in response to President Donald Trump’s February executive order requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies to identify regulations that get in the way of job creation, have compliance costs that outweigh benefits, or are otherwise “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective” is a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed by eight Republican attorneys general (AGs).

The AGs call for the “repeal, replacement or modification” of the Clean Power Plan and a host of other EPA regulations issued by the Obama administration.

In addition to ending the Clean Power Plan, which was intended to force reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by electric power plants, the AGs request the Trump administration to reexamine EPA’s 2015 standard for ground-level ozone, the updated Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, recent agency changes to EPA’s regional haze standards, and the Waters of the United States rule.

“During the Obama administration, we experienced first-hand the devastating effects of unlawful executive overreach on jobs and our states’ local energy economies,” the AGs’ letter states. “We welcome the opportunity to participate in the process of scaling back these unlawful regulations, restoring the rule of law, and ultimately returning key decisions about energy production and priorities to the states and their citizens.”

Calls the Rules Unlawful

The Republican attorneys general are right to call on EPA to toss out regulations imposed by decree under Obama, says Fred Palmer, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

“The president had no statutory or constitutional authority to undertake the climate restrictions he developed under the Clean Power Plan and other regulations, but the law never limited Barack Obama’s approach to governance,” Palmer said. “Most of the regulations put in place were not about protecting air quality, but rather were designed to reduce coal, oil, and natural gas to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in a misguided and ill-fated effort to fight climate change.”

The AGs are right to call for the repeal of these harmful regulations, says Palmer.

“The AGs are spot-on,” Palmer said. “Obama’s anti-fossil-fuels regulations should all be reversed.”

Kenneth Artz ([email protected]) writes from Dallas, Texas.


West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, et al., “Comments of Eight States on Regulations That May Be Appropriate for Repeal, Replacement, or Modification,” May 15, 2017:–on-the-environmental-protection-agencys-request-for-comment-on-regulations-that-may-be-appropriate-for-repeal-replacement-or-modification